Skip navigation
× You have 2 more free articles available this month. Subscribe today.

$23,000 in Costs Assessed Against Ex-Prisoner for Scam Lawsuit

A Georgia federal district court has taxed costs of $23,000 against an ex-prisoner after a jury entered a verdict for prison officials. The jury’s verdict rejected the prisoner’s claim of cruel and unusual punishment and accepted the prison officials’ claim the lawsuit was a scam.

When Bryan Rhoden entered the Georgia Department of Corrections (GDOC) as an achondroplastic dwarf, he was placed in protective custody confinement for 23 hours a day because of his size. GDOC policy required prisoners to remain clean-shaven, but Rhoden was too short to see his face in the mirror above the sink in his cell.

Guards Kevin Ward and Paul Collins ordered Rhoden to stand on the sink, which was 32 inches off the floor. Rhoden claimed he fell from the sink, struck his head and back on the floor, and fractured preexisting screws in his back. After the fall, Rhoden was not given pain medication during the 15 subsequent months of imprisonment and he was denied use of a wheelchair despite being unable to walk. Upon release from prison, Rhoden underwent additional back surgery.

At trial on his Eighth Amendment claim, prison officials claimed Rhoden fabricated the incident with the intent to scam the state of money. They presented evidence in the form of letters from Rhoden and another prisoner that outlined the plan. They also argued the evidence showed the screw was broken prior to Rhoden’s incarceration.

Following the jury’s August 29, 2007 verdict, the district court awarded prison officials $23,000 in costs against Rhoden. See: Rhoden v. Georgia Department of Corrections, USDC, D. Ga., No. 1:04-CV-02158-TW.

As a digital subscriber to Prison Legal News, you can access full text and downloads for this and other premium content.

Subscribe today

Already a subscriber? Login

Related legal case

Rhoden v. Georgia Department of Corrections

No other information is currently available.